The First Lady of Home Improvement

Mar 19, 2020

Say Hello to Cathy Davis of Bartlett Brainard Products


Which color? What kind? How long? How much? There are hundreds of questions when starting a home improvement project. So many, that the whole process can feel crippling before it even starts. All we can say is thank goodness for Cathy Davis, our resident exterior remodeling expert who just happens to be the boss lady at Bartlett Brainard Products and a former President of the Design District of West Hartford. We spoke to Cathy about the process of renovating and why shopping local is so important during these trying times.


Home improvement is so stressful! As an expert, where do you tell people to start?

When thinking about starting a home improvement project, it’s really important to do your research. Our homes are our private sanctuaries and also our biggest investments. It takes a great deal of trust to let someone in. The Better Business Bureau and Consumer Protection websites are wonderful resources to help you start creating a shortlist of professionals. We also provide a measure-up sheet with a 10-point checklist to help people compare contractors and quotes.

Bartlett Brainard is a family-run company. Who has been your greatest inspiration?

My mentor was always my dad and he taught me a lot. I used to be a paralegal and then I came to work here with him – that was 38 years ago! My dad‘s biggest philosophy with running this business was to make sure that you’re honest with the customer, thorough with your communication, and above and beyond with your delivery. This is so important, especially in remodeling. My dad loved people, he loved his customers, and he was friends with almost every single person he met and worked for. He ran this business for about 60 years and his dad did it before him so it’s really a cornerstone of our family.


What part of your job brings you the most satisfaction?

I really enjoy the design portion of my job. People sometimes get lost because there are so many choices. Clients and I discuss style and design as it relates to a roof, siding, doors, additions, and more. New technology lets people see the finished product before we even get started which is really exciting.


You don’t meet many women in the remodeling industry. Are clients surprised to hear a female voice on the phone?

Being a woman in the home improvement field has been challenging but it’s really rewarding too. When we meet with couples, the wife is often the one who has done the research and has a strong opinion about the look and feel of their home. I think there is an element of comfort that women feel when dealing with another woman and I’m very proud of that.

As a female business owner, I think there is a uniqueness that we bring to the industry. But really it’s about time and expertise. I have been doing this for almost 40 years, my dad for 60 years before that and his dad before that. People know that they can trust us because we have been doing this for such a long time. Reputation means a lot both to me and my clients.


You’ve been here in the Design District and a founding member since its inception 15 years ago. What are you most excited about for the future of this neighborhood?

I am very excited about the Design District and all the different businesses that have joined our association. The area is really developing into a destination for home services and it’s easy to drop by different stores with all your project needs all in one area. It’s not like a big box store. You get to meet with real professionals who own their businesses and who care about integrity and great service over anything else. As the area develops, you can grab a bite to eat or explore a new gallery or have a beer at the local brewery and you don’t have to pay for parking! The Design District is like the secret of West Hartford. It has really grown to be quite nice down here.


Bartlett Brainard Products provides exterior remodeling services including roofing, siding, windows, doors, additions and porches in the Greater Hartford area. Cathy is also on the Board of the Better Business Bureau and an active member and former board member of NARI/Remodeling Contractors of CT. Visit Bartlett Brainard at their showroom on 75 Talcott Road in West Hartford or online at